After moving to Portland in the mid 80’s and working in the food industry until 1997, I began a second career in commission architectural glass in 2000 at the encouragement of an interior designer. I had never worked with glass, so after 3 years of classes and hundreds of samples and experiments, I began manufacturing glass tile, vessel sinks, and lighting for several designers.
The recession of 2008-2011 and the recent pandemic were difficult times for most all of us in the arts, but we persisted. I assembled an incredible team over the 20 years, including a waterjet engineer, metal artist, lighting engineer, sand-carver and glass polisher. We are all local independent artisans, and it has been the most enjoyable part of architectural glass work. During these two decades I was also creating Navajo-style tapestry works of art. These two art forms were worlds apart from one another until recently when, for the first time, my love for glass and my passion for fiber art were intertwined.
At a Pilchuck Glass School residency, I was given permission to breath, reflect, fail, and observe. It was the greatest artistic gift even given to me, and it changed my life immeasurable. From that opportunity came clarity, and slowly I have woven a tale that encompasses my desire to speak to social justice issues through mixed media visual arts.The series ‘Universal Vessels’ materialized as I imagined merging fiber and glass to represent the bringing together of dissimilar cultures. The baskets and vessels of the series are created with kilnformed glass for the structures’ bases and spokes, while the weft binds the glass spokes with fiber including reed, yarn, beads, and wire.
I have developed three basketry techniques over the past 2 years – each more technical, yet more representative of indigenous works. Initially, the baskets and vessels created in 2020 examined the technology and materials needed to combine the two media. In a multi-step process, a flat glass disk is fused into a round or oval shape. Waterjet-cutting creates the vessel spokes; the number, diameter and length of each spoke is determined by the weaving pattern chosen for the weft. A final firing follows allowing the disk to slump into the shape of the ceramic or stainless-steel mold. Ex. Oregon Bounty. Having made only a few baskets prior to this new body of work, learning traditional basket weaving techniques has been an exhilarating undertaking. Adapting these materials and processes to bring out my contemporary style was freeing and invigorating.
In the next generation of vessels, I focused on achieving a more traditional basket shape – one with a smaller rim diameter than vessel body. New molds and cutting techniques were developed for the glass, while utilizing traditional basketry weft. An example of this technique is from 2021 All are Welcome.
My 2022 series titled Native Grasses is an adaptation of the traditional coiled grass baskets. To represent the grass, I have chosen stringer, which are bundled and shaped in a kiln-forming technique. Waxed linen is used to twine the grass-like bundles of glass together. I very much enjoy the comradery, inspiration, and energy of our PNWGG and hope our guild remains an ever-strong group of visual artists.
See more of Candace’s work at her Members’ Gallery page.